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Compassionate incompetence

Fri, Sep 16th, 2005
Posted in Commentary

Ah, yes, compassion. I will give the benefit of the doubt (reluctantly) that George Bush and his administration wanted to act, that they felt some sense of duty to respond to their fellow citizens struggling in the gloom of New Orleans after Katrina. But like deer frozen by the oncoming headlights, they were immobilized by the magnitude of what they were seeing and the knowledge that they were incapable of acting.Michael Brown, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, resigned last week after being recalled to Washington by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, supposedly to be ready to respond to the next emergency should it come.It was only days ago that George Bush stood in front of the cameras surrounded by sycophants telling Michael Brown, Youre doing a heck of a job, Brownie, in that Oh-shucks-kind-of-way Bush has. The entourage clapped politely while Brown continued to stare into the headlights.Browns last job was as director of the International Arabian Horse Association, where he was eventually asked to resign. How those credentials prepared Mr. Brown to lead the emergency response to the greatest natural disaster America has ever faced can only be answered by George Bush himself, the man who hired him.Take whatever idiot they have at the top, give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Just dont give me the same idiot, Aaron Broussard, the president of Jefferson Parish told CBS news, referring to Brown and FEMA.Why are we not surprised by this? But then who in Bushs administration has ever had to prove their skills and abilities - Cheney, Rumsfield, Rice, Bolton, Chertoff ...? Who in this administration has ever been held accountable for not getting the job done?So know this. When George Bush gives a feeble mea culpa to the nation two weeks after the crap has hit the fan he is responding to his poll numbers and not to a sense of decency and responsibility.That Katrina happened in the shadow of the fourth anniversary of 9/11 only makes more poignant the sense that our leaders have lost their bearings, and can no longer lead this country.The bungled war on terror and the quagmire in Iraq; tax cuts for the rich, while there are 37 million people in America below the poverty line; tax credits for oil producers in the face of rising gas prices when we need an energy and conservation policy for the future, are the more vivid reminders of the misplaced values of this administration. This administrations policy, and the neo-conservative agenda, has focused on empowering the wealthy at the expense of the poor. Get this, the President and Congress plan on cutting nearly $35 billion over the next five years in benefits and services to poor families and children in cuts to Medicaid and Food Stamps, while giving away nearly $70 billion in the same time period to the wealthy, in the form of the repeal of the estate tax.That, my friends, is the true heart of George Bush.You know, on second thought, I might just be wrong about that compassion thing.

Postscript Last week on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, a clip showed Vice-President Dick Cheney touring Mississippi and blowing platitudes about how well the recovery effort was going, when a voice off camera yelled clear and loud, Go f--- yourself Mr. Cheney. It wasnt that long ago that Mr. Cheney uttered the same epitaph to a Democratic senator. Isnt it amazing what goes round sometimes comes round?

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